Microsoft says it will "forgo" its right to appeal the immediate sanctions ordered by the EU Commission, and will work to implement them and to concentrate on appealing the main ruling instead:
"Rather than seeking to suspend the Commission's remedies, Microsoft's focus now is on working constructively with the Commission on their full and prompt implementation." . . .
Microsoft said a European edition of Windows without Media Player would be available "in the coming weeks" and it had made specifications available to rival makers of server software -- a second key Commission order.
But Microsoft said it would continue to appeal the Commission's landmark ruling from March 2004, when the EU's competition watchdog also levied a record 497 million euro ($649.7 million) fine.
"We remain very optimistic as we move forward in this process, and are encouraged that the December court order noted that a number of Microsoft's arguments could provide a basis for overturning the EC's decision," Microsoft said in a statement.
I thought you'd like to know that not all corporate behavior in litigation is bizarre. This is a rational response to a loss.
Here's their page entitled "Microsoft Implementation of European Commission Decision, which sets forth the license terms. There is also a license to evaluate for two days the technical documentation for potential license. If you license, here are the terms, subject to revision by the Commission:
1. The Microsoft Work Group Server Protocol Program License Agreement for Development and Product Distribution ("WSPP Development Agreement") grants to licensees, on a royalty basis, certain of Microsoft European intellectual property rights for the purpose of interoperability with Microsoft client and server operating systems. Specifically, licensees will obtain the rights to use the licensed Microsoft technical documentation to develop implementations of the WSPP communications protocols for the available server tasks enabled by the WSPP protocols that the licensee selects. In particular, this Program makes available, under the license, the communications protocols implemented in Windows Server Operating Systems1 and that are used by a Windows Work Group Server2 to deliver file and print services and group and user administration services (including the Windows Domain Controller Services, Active Directory services, and Group Policy services) to Windows Work Group Networks.3 Under the Program license terms, the technical documentation for these protocols, which will be provided to licensees through secured access, can be used in the development and distribution of work group server operating system products within the European Economic Area to accomplish one or both of the specific work group server tasks identified above. All licenses available under the Program require completion of the program entry requirements and payment of fees. As mentioned above, the terms of the WSPP Development Agreement are subject to revision upon comment by the European Commission.
1 "Windows Server Operating Systems" means the software distributed and licensed by Microsoft as Windows 2000 Server Standard Edition and Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition.
2 "Windows Work Group Server" means a computer connected to a network and on which a Windows Server Operating System is installed.
3 "Windows Work Group Network" means any group of (i) personal computers connected to a network and on each of which a Windows Client Operating System is installed and (ii) Windows Work Group Servers, linked together via a computer network. "Windows Client Operating Systems" means the software distributed and licensed by Microsoft as Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP Professional, or Windows XP Home or their successors for use on Intel-based personal computers.
Notice the geographical limits. Here's their FAQ page for more info. I always hated Windows Media Player, because it was such a snoop. Take a look on the FAQ page of all the files Microsoft was ordered to remove, some 186 of them. It's a handy list. If I still used Windows, I'd probably try to self-help or something. There is something in my nature that can't see a list like that one and not want to know what all the files do. I bet if I looked each one up, and I would before removing anything, I'd get a pretty clear picture of just what Media Player was up to. My hair would probably stand on end. So, knowing me, I'd back everything up first, have my CDs ready to reinstall if necessary, and then probably do it the easy way, with Zone Alarm maybe, or one of my books on Windows, checking out each file, and then probably I'd have looked in the registry to see what else I could learn. Then I'd try removing and see what happened. I am actually feeling nostalgic.
On the FAQ page they give this timetable:
Q: When will you implement the European Commission Decision?
A: We are completing the process of preparing these new versions of Windows XP for commercial release. We have agreed with the Commission on a reasonable timetable to distribute these versions of Windows XP. Now that we have received the Order of the President of the Court of First Instance, we are able to finalize testing and make them available to our largest computer manufacturers in January, 2005, and to others in February.
Hmm. Maybe it would be good to list the files right here, the Internet being what it is and all:
Appendix: Files Required to Be Removed by the European Commission Decision
End User Multimedia Functionality
Windows Media Platform Technology